Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #242

The Week That Was: September 24, 2016 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Testing EPA’s Endangerment Finding – The Hot Spot: Advances in scientific knowledge are based on evidence – not on untested theories and untested mathematical models. The testing, often called hypothesis testing, can be lengthy and exhausting. For example, the theory of relativity, though virtually universally accepted, is still undergoing testing. Although over 35 years old, the concept that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) will cause unprecedented and dangerous global warming has not been thoroughly tested and is highly questionable.

As explained in the February 6 TWTW, in his written testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on February 2, John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville submitted the results of 102 IPCC CIMP-5 Climate Model runs for the Global Bulk Atmospheric Temperature. (Surface to 50,000 feet (15,240 meters)). CIMP-5 is the latest version global climate models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC))

Further, Christy showed that the mathematical global climate models greatly overestimate atmospheric temperatures, where the greenhouse effect takes place. Such over-estimates make these models unsuitable for economic or energy policy. The only exception to Christy’s finding is the model from the Institute of Numerical Mathematics in Moscow. Interestingly, Russia is not curtailing its production of fossil fuels from the fear that it may cause global warming/climate change.

Using statistical analysis, three independent scientists, James Wallace, John Christy, and Joseph D’Aleo tested the hypothesis that there is a tropical hot spot, a pronounced warming trend over the tropics centered at about 10 kilometers, 33,000 feet.

The hot spot was termed the distinct human fingerprint of warming at the November 1995 meeting of the of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientific group in Madrid by John Houghton and Benjamin Santer, and was featured in the 1996 assessment report of the IPCC (AR-2). This was important for signing the international Kyoto Protocol to limit carbon dioxide emissions, unsuccessfully as it turned out. Also, the claimed human-caused hot spot is one of the three lines of evidence given by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to justify regulation of carbon dioxide emissions and the use of fossil fuels which cause them.

The new report, “On the Existence of a ‘Tropical Hot Spot’ Research Report and the Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding” rejects the hypothesis that the tropical hot spot exists – regardless if the cause is human or natural. To do so, it analyzes 5 different datasets in the tropics dating from 1959 to 2015. These include balloon atmospheric data and, buoy and land surface data. As with surface data, balloon data is very limited – it includes a sliver of the atmosphere, but if the hot spot exists, the balloon data should capture it.

Critical to this analysis is that, according to the theory and to the claims by the IPCC and the EPA, the intensity of the proposed warming should increase with increasing altitude up to 10 km (33,000 feet). Again, this is not that the temperatures will increase with altitude (they diminish), but the warming trends will increase with altitude. Fundamental to their analysis, is that the researchers removed the changing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) patterns, using NOAA’s established Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). Once the ENSO patterns were removed, there was no tropical hot spot, as others have suggested for years.

Also, the researchers made another intriguing observation. The long period of global cooling, from about 1940 to 1977, led some scientists to speculate that the earth was entering into a new ice age. But, in 1977 it suddenly stopped. At the time, no one could explain why. Subsequently, what is called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) was discovered. This involves long periods of alternative warming and/ cooling in various parts of the Pacific.

The researchers of this paper reported that between 1947 and 1976, there were 6 years of El Niño (warming) periods and 14 years of La Niña (cooling) periods. During the subsequent period, 1977 to 1998 (a big El Niño year), there were 10 El Niños (warming) periods 3 La Niñas (cooling) periods. Since 1998 to 2015, El Niños and La Niñas have been balanced at 7 each. We will have wait to see what will occur once the current big El Niño period is over.

The researchers call the 1977 shift in El Niño-La Niña frequency, the 1977 Pacific Climate Shift. These observations support the assertions by other researchers that the IPCC, and the EPA , have attributed to carbon dioxide a warming caused by natural variation.

In addition, the researchers note the similarity since 1950 of the Cumulative Solar Intensity with the Cumulative ENSO activity, giving a lead to possible causes of changing Pacific Ocean patterns – and to causes in recorded surface temperatures. The statistical netting out of the changing ENSO influence also netted out the influence of changing solar intensity.

The tropical hot spot, whatever the cause, and the scientific claims built around it, are not supported. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

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Quote of the Week. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. On the contrary, it makes crops and

forests grow faster.” S. Fred Singer

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Number of the Week: 4.3 Million Jobs

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Testing EPA’s Endangerment Finding – CO2: The IPCC and the EPA claim that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the primary cause of recent global warming/climate change. Without such claims, there is no purpose for nations to agree to the latest UN effort to limit CO2 emissions (Paris Agreement), or to channel money into the newly established UN – controlled Green Climate Fund.

One must recall that there is no comprehensive surface temperature record that is global. The only global record is by satellites, with small limitations, with the data starting in December 1978. Various government agencies and the IPCC pretend that surface measurements are global. They are not, even though a few measurements started in the 1700s and the US was largely covered starting about 1880, the only country so covered.

Yet, based on these pretenses, the UN, the US administration, and the governments of many Western countries are attempting to frighten the public into accepting an agreement that will severely damage Western economies by severely limiting the use of fossil fuels. The report, “On the Existence of a ‘Tropical Hot Spot’ and the Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding”, challenges the claims that CO2 is responsible for recent warming.

Using the methodology partially described above, and more fully described in the report, the research team netted out the influence of the changing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) patterns from 13 datasets, using NOAA’s established Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). These datasets include both tropical and global readings, and include balloons, satellites, buoys, and land-based instrument data. They found there is no statistically significant impact on the 13-time series datasets analyzed from increasing CO2. If the report is correct, the UN Paris Agreement and the EPA Endangerment Finding have no empirical basis, thus no scientific basis. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

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Testing EPA’s Endangerment Finding – Importance to US Policy: The discussion of the importance of the lines of evidence used by the EPA can be found in the Federal Register/Volume 74, No 239 / Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009/Rules and Regulations (page 66523)

“However, the attribution of most of the recent warming to anthropogenic activities is based on multiple lines of evidence. The first line of evidence arises from our basic physical understanding of the effects of changing concentrations of greenhouse gases, natural factors, and other human impacts on the climate system. Greenhouse gas concentrations have indisputably increased and their radiative properties are well established. The second line of evidence arises from indirect, historical estimates of past climate changes that suggest that the changes in global surface temperature over the last several decades are unusual. The third line of evidence arises from the use of computer-based climate models to simulate the likely patterns of response of the climate system to different forcing mechanisms (both natural and anthropogenic). These models are unable to replicate the observed warming unless anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are included in the simulations. Natural forcing alone cannot explain the observed warming. In fact, the assessment literature 27 indicates the sum of solar and volcanic forcing in the past half century would likely have produced cooling, not warming. Please see the relevant volume of the Response to Comments for more detailed responses.” (Boldface added)

The regulations go on to state “The Air Pollution Is Reasonably Anticipated To Endanger Both Public Health and Welfare”; thus, claiming the EPA has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Of the greenhouse gases being regulated, only CO2 is significant. The other gases can be regulated under other provisions of the Clean Air Act, or their quantities are insignificant. Of course, the most important greenhouse gas is water vapor, which the EPA would have great difficulty in regulating.

Based on the new study, and other studies, contrary to the claims stated in the regulations, the understanding of 1) the physical effects of “changing concentrations of greenhouse gases, natural factors, and other human impacts on the climate system” are poorly understood; 2) any unusual nature of the recent rise in surface temperature is likely from change in land use and natural variation, not greenhouse gases; and 3) computer-based climate models have failed in predictions, thus are not evidence. The models simply do not capture natural variation, and likely misidentified natural variation as influence from carbon dioxide. Also, the claim that the sum of solar and volcanic forcing for the past half-century would have produced cooling is probably false.

There are numerous references to these types of “evidence” in other federal regulations and policy recommendations regarding CO2 and fossil fuels. They do not constitute credible scientific knowledge.

If the study, and similar studies, hold, the Paris Agreement, the Administration’s power plan, and similar efforts to control CO2 emissions are standing on a three-legged stool of evidence that is toppling over, if not collapsing. Note: As with the researchers, the peer-reviewers of this study are distinguished, independent scientists, not beholding to anyone or any organization. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Defending the Orthodoxy, After Paris! and https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2009-12-15/pdf/E9-29537.pdf

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Federal Orders: Mr. Obama has ordered federal agencies to consider the impacts of climate when establishing a policy, including the development of national security-related doctrine, policies, and plans. “To achieve this, 20 Federal agencies and offices with climate science, intelligence analysis, and national security policy development missions and responsibilities will collaborate to ensure the best information on climate impacts is available to strengthen our national security.” Will they consider the report discussed above? See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.

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Quote of the Week: The quote this week was featured in an op-ed in the Washington Post by Michael “Hockey-stick” Mann and cartoonist Tom Toles. Apparently, quote was thought to justify the personal assaults in the article.

“Singer is the most prolific of the deniers-for-hire. Formerly a Cold War physicist and an environmental science professor at the University of Virginia, he left academia in 1990 to found a think tank, the Science and Environmental Policy Project, with a mission of debunking the science of ozone depletion, climate change, tobacco and other environmental and health threats. He has received considerable funding from corporate interests, including tobacco company Philip Morris, seed and pesticide company Monsanto and energy company Texaco. His many works include a 2009 report titled “Climate Change Reconsidered,” which concludes that “a warmer world will be a safer and healthier world for humans and wildlife alike.” The report has been dismissed as ‘fabricated nonsense.’”

No doubt, the authors consider the thousands of studies in the laboratory and the field showing increased atmospheric CO2 benefits green plants, thus agriculture and the environment to be “fabricated nonsense.”

The President of SEPP has written Fred Ryan, editor of the Post, a letter requesting the physical evidence, not hearsay, supporting the accusation: “He [Singer] has received considerable funding from corporate interests, including tobacco company Philip Morris, seed and pesticide company Monsanto and energy company Texaco.” Will a reply be forthcoming? See link under Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.

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Important Correction: Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, graciously corrected several poorly written sentences in the last TWTW. The sentences dealt with feeding seasons of the Arctic’s top predator, polar bears, and its chief prey, seals. The bears feed heavily in the late winter and spring when the ice is heavy, but not too thick, and the seals have few escape possibilities. The seals feed heavily in the summer when the Arctic has far less ice, the fish plentiful, and the seals difficult for bears to catch. TWTW appreciates that Susan Crockford made these important corrections. See link under Questioning the Orthodoxy.

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Number of the Week: 4.3 Million Jobs: A report by the Institute for 21st Century Energy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the energy revolution, the increase in oil and natural gas production due to hydraulic fracturing, created 4.3 million jobs in the US. Any report such as this is subject to minor challenges but the direction and magnitude are important. Also, the report estimates that the US economy would be $500 billion smaller, electricity prices 30% higher and motor fuels 40% higher. Natural gas prices would be 30% higher for residences and 90% for industry. The oil and gas revolution has been far more successful and long-lasting in boosting the economy than the $800 billion stimulus bill. Based on quick calculations, without these jobs, the official unemployment rate would be about 7.6% rather than 4.9%. See links under The Administration’s Plan – Push-Back

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ARTICLES:

1. Ports Can Cut Diesel-Engine Emissions by Replacing Equipment, EPA Report Says

New research also backs improvements in cargo-handling operations

By Erica Phillips, WSJ, Sep 22, 2016

http://www.wsj.com/articles/ports-can-cut-diesel-engine-emissions-by-replacing-equipment-epa-report-says-1474580446

[SEPP Comment: No link to study]

SUMMARY: According to the report the air around major ports can be improved by replacing diesel engines older than 10 years with new ones that give off less particle-matter emissions. Other than fewer particles health benefits are not clear.

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2. SEC Probes Exxon Over Accounting for Climate Change

Probe also examines company’s practice of not writing down the value of oil and gas reserves

By Bradley Olson and Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, Sep 20, 2016

http://www.wsj.com/articles/sec-investigating-exxon-on-valuing-of-assets-accounting-practices-1474393593

SUMMARY: “The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating how Exxon Mobil Corp. values its assets in a world of increasing climate-change regulations, a probe that could have far-reaching consequences for the oil and gas industry.

“The SEC sought information and documents in August from Exxon and the company’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, according to people familiar with the matter. The federal agency has been receiving documents the company submitted as part of a continuing probe into similar issues begun last year by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the people said.

“The SEC’s probe is homing in on how Exxon calculates the impact to its business from the world’s mounting response to climate change, including what figures the company uses to account for the future costs of complying with regulations to curb greenhouse gases as it evaluates the economic viability of its projects.

“The decision to step into an Exxon investigation and seek climate-related information represents a moment in the effort to take climate change more seriously in the financial community, said Andrew Logan, director of the oil and gas program at Ceres, a Boston-based advocacy organization that has pushed for more carbon-related disclosure from companies.”

[SEPP Comment: Does the SEC now believe that in evaluating assets, companies should take into account unresolved political issues? How about handicapping elections?]

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3. Former CIA Chief Cites Grid Vulnerability to EMP Attack

A nuclear device detonated at orbit above the U.S. could take out the electric grid, said R. James Woolsey

By Kim Nash, WSJ, Sep 21, 2016

http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2016/09/21/former-cia-chief-cites-grid-vulnerability-to-emp-attack/

SUMMARY: “The U.S. is not doing enough to guard against attacks on critical infrastructure at the hands of rogue nations, said former Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey at a cybersecurity conference here Wednesday.

“Combative states such as North Korea and Iran could detonate a nuclear device in orbit above the U.S., unleashing an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, capable of knocking out the electric grid, Mr. Woolsey said in an interview with CIO Journal at the Cyber Security Summit sponsored in part by Nation-E, a technology security company.

“Traditional policies of deterrence are ineffective against such “malevolent threats” because for these actors, “death is desirable rather than shunned,” said Mr. Woolsey, who served as CIA director for two years during the Clinton Administration.

“Electricity companies and the Obama Administration “haven’t done much” to counter such threats, he said, in part because there is no clear remedy and experiments could be expensive and ineffective.”

This may become a campaign issue, because Mr Woolsey signed on to the Trump campaign.

CONTINUE READING –>

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